Sunday, August 12, 2007

Immersion Theory

I think I may have mentioned here before that the more I work, the more I can work. Earlier this summer I was knocking off a thousand words a day on The Durand Cousins, which is a very good pace for me. I was able to do it because I was able to stay immersed in the work. If I went for a walk, I got ideas. If I was driving in the car, I got ideas. Any non-writing moment might trigger a breakout experience and an idea. I'd outline that idea in a story file so it would be ready when I was back working on my thousand-word-a-day objective. (My goal being to finish this draft.)

At the Chapter 8 point, nearly 40,000 words in, I ground to a halt because in order to go on, I needed to rethink. I'd done lots of angst and misery and was now getting to a thriller point, way, way too late in the work. I needed some yippee kai yay much sooner. Things were dragging and it was going to be hard to slog on to the end just so I could have a draft of some kind.

In order to rework the earlier material (I had already started over once before after getting to Chapter 3), I had to do some thinking but I was thinking without being immersed in the material because I was no longer doing a thousand words a day. In addition, one life-related thing would come up and then another, and I didn't work at all for days.

Again, no immersion.

It was a real effort to finally get started. I only began really roaring toward the end of last week.

So yesterday was Saturday. I don't usually work on weekends, though during that thousand-word-a-day period I was always coming up with ideas and jotting things down in that story file I mentioned earlier. But, anyway, yesterday at mid-day, I was getting ready to go to a birthday party, which meant taking a shower because I'd been doing unpleasant things earlier in the morning. I'm in the shower, and my mind starts madly cranking out material for the next scene for The Durand Cousins. I had to dry off and get dressed as fast as I could so I could go downstairs and get this stuff down so I could run with it on Monday.

I was a half hour later arriving at this party then I'd planned, and I was already planning to get there late. It worked out, though, because when I went up to the guest of honor's table to say hello, I was invited to sit with her. Like that would have happened if I'd arrived there on time.

I'm telling you, immersion works.

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